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The aftershock of a gruesome accident has left Alex shell-shocked. The entire film is about the way guilt haunts him like a shadowy executioner. Close-ups of his friends' faces emphasize the way he searches their expressions for the slightest hint of accusation. Alex lives in a world that offers little joy. His parents are getting divorced, and he has dislocated himself to the lonely confines of a journal. The journal is his confidante, his only witness to paralyzing emotions that stalk him during his waking hours.
Alex's character is not glorified in any way. He is awkward like most teens, he is not an expert skateboarder, and is reluctant to venture down the concrete slopes of the skate park carved under a colossal bridge. He is drawn toward Paranoid park because he seeks something resembling companionship and family. Jumping a boxcar leads to a fatal and grisly accident. Alex must live with the consequences of this mistake, which leads to intriguing questions about morality and the complexities of unintentional manslaughter. Gus Van Sant is not interested in the cogs of the judicial system, however, he is interested in the tormented machinery ticking away inside the young skater's head.Read more ›
Obviously, it's not for everyone. It is more for those that could appreciate Elephant or 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days than someone looking for an action skater flick. But it will go down as one of Gus Van Sant's best films in what is already a distinguished career. It's one of the most beautiful movies of recent years and the score and sound mixing is stupendous. But it takes some time and attitude adjustment to get into the flow with the film. It's well worth the time and almost demands multiple viewings.
As with Elephant, many of the young actors are novices at best. This is not a drawback at all. It only enhances the movie because the characters are so real.
Did I say it's one of the most beautiful films of recent years? Slow motion skaters, the train scene scored to a key passage from Beethoven's 9th, the shower scene, the beach, beautiful boys, beautiful girls, not so beautiful girls, losing ones virginity- all in beautiful slow motion scenes told out of sequence, often with no dialog and sometimes repeated to underscore certain points. Two signature Elliott Smith songs, played almost in their entirety, accompany two long and unedited shots of the title character to create two more memorable moments.
One of the best of 2007 and deservedly so...
I saw this film on a zone 2 DVD, collector edition, available at Amazon.fr.
The thin plot has Alex, played by Gabe Nevins, attracted to Paranoid Park, a skate park that was built illegally by punks, skaters, and other riff raff. Alex goes there one night alone, and is essentially picked up by some shady characters. Without spoiling anything, he does something terrible and spends the rest of the movie trying to cope, mainly by writing out what happened in a letter to one of his friends. Paranoid Park represents a place where Alex feels that he can belong. He expresses how much he's attracted to the type of people who skate there, and he yearns to belong to their subculture, yet he never manages to find his place.
His writing literally drives the plot, as what he's writing down in his letter is what we experience as an audience. The focus of Paranoid Park is decidedly insular. Built around a series of disorienting techniques like dialogue overlaid with music, one sided dialogues where the other person is either obscured or off camera all together, long takes of Alex walking alone with a musical backdrop, and close-ups of Alex's blank stare, Alex's inner life is shown as a sort of dreamy and hazy numbness. His disaffection and guilt is not really expressed very effectively even in his diary, and the visual techniques of the film serve as one of the only windows in to his mind set.
Just like Elephant and Last Days, Van Sant is concerned with the seemingly existential existence of modern young people.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read the book, which is your basic average lo-qual 'teen fiction' - America should be embarrassed by the level of prose we feed our kids, I read more challenging stuff than this... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Maori
I bought this movie long ago because the cover sparked my interest. I realize that good acting was not the point of this movie. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Victoria
I have enjoyed many of Gus van Sant’s films including “Drugstore Cowboy”, “Milk” and the simultaneously mesmerizing and horrifying “Elephant”. Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by Randal Rauser
The novel by blake Nelson is much more interesing and thrilling than Gus van Stant's film. The latter does not succeed in conveying the protagonist's moral turmoil and the... Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by Edgar Schwarz
Paranoid Park is a pretty boring movie overall. What definitely had potential in the concept quickly deteriorated when it was soon realized that the writers are going for an... Read morePublished on February 23, 2012 by Bryan
*What if something so terrible happens that you can't tell anyone? Yet it's too much of a burden to keep to yourself? Read morePublished on January 7, 2012 by Athena R. Schaffer
What I like most about this movie is the realistic portrayal of a sullen teenager. You notice firsthand his lack of writing skill as he narrates a letter describing his horrific... Read morePublished on March 22, 2011 by Angela S.